One of many dental issues a patient can have is an overbite.
Interesting fact: what patients call an overbite (bucked teeth) actually differs from what orthodontists call an overbite (a deep bite). To avoid complicating things, this article refers to an overbite as what most people consider it to be – top teeth that stick out.
This relatively common problem can range from minor to severe, and it can lead to more dental issues further down the track, which is why orthodontics are often used to correct it.
Here’s a little more about what an overbite is, what causes an overbite, and how you can fix it.
What is an overbite?
An overbite is when your top front teeth extend out beyond your bottom front teeth. It is sometimes also known as ‘bucked teeth’, and is a type of malocclusion, which simply means that the teeth are not properly aligned.
It’s quite common to have a very slight overbite, but when the gap is large, it can lead to dental issues. This includes jaw pain, tooth wear, gum recession and gum disease. These can occur when the top teeth bite too far forward of the bottom teeth causing excessive wear and tear on certain teeth, often the lower and to a lesser extent the upper front teeth (incisors).
You might already know that you have an overbite, or you might start experiencing jaw pain and not know what’s causing it. Or, your dental professional might spot the overbite during a routine check-up or x-ray and suggest taking steps to better align your teeth.
What causes an overbite?
For many people, an overbite is simply genetic. In the same way that someone can have crooked or gapped teeth, they can also have an overbite. This might happen because of a relatively small lower jaw and/or flared upper teeth.
That said, there are some habits and issues that can create an overbite. These include thumb or digit sucking habits and tongue-thrusting, when the tongue presses forward in the mouth.
Regardless of the cause, your dental professional will likely suggest alignment to prevent future problems, or to deal with current dental problems and jaw pain.
How can you fix an overbite?
While surgery is an option to fix severe overbites, most overbites can be easily aligned with standard orthodontics.
Both traditional braces and clear aligners are designed to move teeth into place. Even though these orthodontic treatments are often used to straighten crooked teeth, they can also be used to pull prominent upper front teeth back to reduce or fully correct an overbite.
In minor cases, braces or aligners alone might do the job. Often, elastics (small rubber bands) are used to guide the teeth into the correct position, reducing an overbite and fixing the bite.
In more severe instances, extractions might be needed. This can provide the space needed to pull back particularly flared upper teeth.
In severe cases that result from a significantly small lower jaw, a combination of braces and surgery might be needed to completely correct the overbite. While this can sound intimidating, a combined treatment can cause a dramatic improvement not only in the teeth but also the facial profile and proportions.
The right treatment for you or your child – braces or aligners, extractions or no extractions; surgery or camouflage – will be determined by the specialist orthodontist at your consultation appointment. We will carefully explain various options, including costs, pros, and cons. Your personal preference, smile goals, and budget will also be taken into account when customising a treatment plan.
Call 04 595 5992 or contact us online to learn more about using orthodontics to correct an overbite, to make a booking, or to get started.